LEWISTON, Idaho – These Warriors like to make things interesting.
On Senior Night at the Activity Center, where libero Kaylee Rector and right side hitter Brianne Brown were honored in a pre-match ceremony, the Lewis-Clark State College volleyball team rebounded from a first-set hiccup to thump Dickinson State on Thursday night.
The Warriors (13-8 overall, 9-3 Frontier Conference) wound up hitting .364 for the match and .520 in the fourth and final set and generally out-playing the visiting Blue Hawks in every phase, but in the first set Dickinson State looked pretty lively for a team that made a 16-hour journey to Lewiston.
LCSC jumped out to a 10-3 lead on the Blue Hawks (2-17 overall, 0-11 Frontier Conference), but a series of errors and missed opportunities allowed Dickinson State to claw back into things. The Hawks took their first lead of the set at 21-20, and scored the final three points to clinch at 25-22 win that sapped the energy from the Activity Center.
“We had five service errors to start, and we couldn’t get any consistency going,” Warrior coach LaToya Harris said. “It got us a little fired up for the rest of the match.”
It showed on the floor, as the Warriors cruised to 25-12 victories in three successive sets to make victors of Brown and Rector on Senior Night.
“As a senior, this is what you wait for,” Harris said. “And I told everyone in the locker room that it’s not just Senior Night. This is the last weekend that the freshmen, sophomores and juniors will play at home this season, and we have to fight every minute of it. They responded to that.”
Brown had 10 kills and hit .261 on Thursday, and Rector provided her usual steady defense, digging up 18 Dickinson State swings.
Both were caught up in the emotion of the ceremony -- where they were presented with framed Lewis-Clark State jerseys – but also expressed a hope that there will still be plenty of volleyball left in their careers.
“It meant a lot to me, but I’m excited, not sad,” Brown said. “We were coming off of a loss and we had to get some of those wishy-washy things out, but I think the rest of the girls wanted to play and win for Kaylee and I.”
“It was a little heavier in the locker room, but it’s been a great four years here,” said Rector, who was also Brown’s teammate at Shadle Park (Wash.) High School. “The girls made it for me.”
Niurka Toribio led the way offensively for the Warriors on Thursday, finishing with 17 kills and a .412 hitting percentage. The junior outside hitter also a match-high 19 digs.
Treneisha Doyle had 12 kills after missing Saturday’s five-set loss at Montana Tech, and Chelsea Strong continued her torrid month with 11 kills at a .563 clip.
The victory put some distance between the Warriors and their competitors in the Frontier Conference. LCSC now leads the league by 1.5 games, with Carroll, MSU-Northern and a surging Great Falls team tied for second.
Lewis-Clark State plays its regular-season home finale against Rocky Mountain on Saturday in the Activity Center at 2 p.m., and heads out to Montana Western and Carroll next weekend as the conference slate wraps.